Legendary broadcaster Don Imus has died at age 79, according to a spokesperson for the family.
Imus retired from the airwaves in 2018 after 50 years in radio—including nearly 18 years simulcast on cable news.
Unafraid of speaking his mind, Imus was a firebrand, polarizing media personality, beloved by his avid fan base for his on-air persona and charitable works, and he was equally loathed by others. He was also known for having a highly-publicized feud with fellow longtime WNBC radio shock jock Howard Stern that lasted years.
Perhaps the most talked-about moment in Imus’ career on the national stage is the 2007 incident which led to him losing his radio job with CBS, and the MSNBC simulcast of Imus in the Morning that had been airing on the network since 1996. Imus used a slur when talking about the Rutgers women’s basketball team.
There was also an incident with Fox & Friends weathercaster Janice Dean, who said Imus “fat shamed” her while she worked with Imus on his radio show, before he joined Fox Business Network.
After radio stints at WNBC (which went out of business in 1988), and CBS-owned WFAN-FM (to go with 11 years simulcast on MSNBC) Imus brought Imus in the Morning to WABC radio, and was simulcast on Fox Business from 2009-2015.
“You’ve gotten this far being a complete and total callous schmuck,” Neil Cavuto told Imus in his May 29, 2015 sign off from FBN.” And I admire that.”
Imus in the Morning would later be replaced by Maria Bartiromo‘s Mornings with Maria, and his final broadcast on radio took place on March 29, 2018.
“I wasn’t trying to be outrageous,” Imus told CBS News’ Anthony Mason last year about his long run as a radio broadcaster. “It’s just the way I thought. My feeling was then, and is now, that if they didn’t like what I did, get somebody else to do it.”
Don Imus’ wife of 25 years and 2 sons were at his side when he died at a hospital in College Station, Texas on Friday.